Why a generic cover letter is worse than no cover letter at all

Writing a cover letter is a really good way to make your application stand out — few people do it. But don’t get me, the hiring manager, excited about a cover letter only to find

Dear Recruiter, your company is really exciting to me. Here’s a summary of my resume, which you easily could have deduced from 15 seconds of actually looking at my resume. Please interview me.

The cover letters that really help your chances are way more specific to the role I’m hiring for (and yes, I can tell how much time you took to research the role and company). Tell me why you’re excited to work at my company. Tell me how your past experience would make you a good fit for the role (especially if you’re trying to transition into a new function). Tell me how you‘ve already talked to one of my colleagues — or even a former colleague.

Ultimately the point of the cover letter is to provide me with information I couldn’t have seen from your resume, and the most interesting information is why you’re interested in this role and why you think you’d be a good fit.

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